La Tour-du-Pin Infanterie
Origin and History
A tradition traces the origin of this regiment to the guards of the Duc d'Alençon, raised in 1576. These troops then became the garrison of Cambrai till October 9 1595 when the town surrendered to a Spanish army. Balagny, then owner of this unit, raised a regiment incorporating the remnants of the garrison. On May 6 1598, the regiment, to the exception of the colonel company, was disbanded. It was a gentleman regiment and accordingly its was known by the name of its 16 successive colonels. It was one of the few gentleman regiments among the old regiments.
In 1600, the regiment was re-raised for the expedition against Savoy but disbanded once more in 1603, to the exception of 2 companies.
In 1614, the new proprietor of the regiment, Charles de Rambures, re-established the regiment (2,000 men) and led it to Bretagne where it assisted the Gardes Françaises in the capture and demolition of the harbour of Blavet. In 1615, the regiment was reduced to 2 companies who took part in the siege of Creil-sur-Oise before being sent to Poitou. In 1616, increased to 10 companies, it was at the relief of Péronne. In 1617, it took part in the attack on Laon and in the siege of Rhétel. In 1618, it was reduced to 2 companies; in 1619, increased to 10 companies.
In 1620, at the beginning of the Huguenot rebellions (1620–1628), the regiment took part in the combat of Ponts de Cé; in 1621, in the siege of Saint-Jean-d'Angély and in the capture of Bergerac where it then remained in garrison till the Peace of Montpellier (October 1622). In 1624, it left Bergerac and occupied Saint-Maixent. In 1625 and 1626, it served in Picardie. In 1627 and 1628, it took part in the siege of La Rochelle.
In 1629, during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), the regiment joined the French Army of Piedmont and took part in the attack of the defile of Susa. By 24 May, it was back to Privas in France where it took part in the storming of the place. It also took part in the capture of Alais. In 1630, it was sent back to Piedmont where it took part in the siege of Exiles, in the combat of Veillane and in the siege of Saluzzo; while a detachment was at the passage of the bridge of Carignan. In 1631, the regiment was transferred to Lorraine where it took part in the sieges of Vic, Moyenvic and Marsal.
In 1632, the regiment was sent to Languedoc to quench the rebellion of Monsieur whose forces were defeated at the Battle of Castelnaudary. The regiment was then recalled to Lorraine where it took part in the siege of Trier. In 1633, it was at the siege of Nancy; in 1634, at the sieges of Bitches and La Mothe, and at the relief of Heidelberg.
In 1635, at the beginning of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Speyer, at the relief of Homburg, at the siege of Bingen and in the retreat from Mainz to Metz; in 1636, in the reliefs of Colmar, Kaysersberg and Haguenau, and in the siege of Saverne; in 1637, in the sieges of Ivoy, Câtelet and Damvilliers; in 1638, in the siege of Câtelet; in 1639, in the siege of Thionville; in 1640, in the siege of Arras; in 1641, in the sieges of Aire, La Bassée and Bapaume; in 1642, in the Battle of Honnecourt; in 1643, in the Battle of Rocroi and in the sieges of Thionville and Sierck. In 1644, the regiment was transferred to Flanders and took part in the siege of Gravelines. In 1645, it took part in the passage of the Colme and in the sieges of Mardyk, Cassel, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Menin; in 1646, in the sieges of Courtrai and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the defence of Courtrai; in 1648, in the siege of Ypres and in the Battle of Lens; in 1649, in the siege of Cambrai and in the capture of Condé; in 1650, in the siege and battle of Rhétel; in 1651, in the passage of the Scheldt near Neuville. In 1652, the regiment was sent to Picardie where it occupied Ardres before being recalled to defend Paris. It then returned to Ardres. In 1653, the regiment tried to make itself master of Ardres under mysterious circumstances but the inhabitants resisted and the regiment lost 700 men out of 1,400. In 1655, the regiment took part in the defence of Saint-Quentin and in the siege of Condé; in 1656, in the siege of Valenciennes and in the capture of La Capelle; in 1657, in the siege of La Motte-aux-Bois, in the capture of Saint-Venant, in the relief of Ardres and in the capture of Watz, Bourbourg and Mardyk; in 1658, in the siege of Dunkerque, in the Battle of the Dunes and in the sieges of Berghes, Menin and Ypres. In 1659, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees, the regiment was reduced to 4 companies and took its quarters in the region of Rouen.
In 1663, the regiment took part in the expedition in Lorraine.
The fact that La Tour-du-Pin Infanterie, Bourbonnais Infanterie and Auvergne Infanterie were all created during the same year gave rise to endless argumentations about their respective ranking. In 1666, Louis XIV had to edict a regulation stating that each regiment would alternate for the 7th, 8th and 9th ranks on a yearly basis.
In 1667, at the beginning of the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment was increased to 10 companies. It took part in the siege of Lille. In 1668, it was sent to Charleroi and took part in the capture of Genappe.
In 1671, the regiment was stationed in Dunkerque.
In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), 20 companies of the regiment garrisoned Tongres while the 12 others were attached to the Army of the Rhine. At the end of the campaign, the entire regiment was quartered in Bombelles. In 1673, it was part of Condé's Army who covered the siege of Maastricht. In 1674, the regiment served in Flanders where it took part in the Battle of Seneffe (August 11). It was then sent to Metz where it joined Turenne's Army. The second battalion reinforced the defenders of Haguenau. The regiment was then quartered in Schlestadt and Colmar and fought in the combat of Mulhausen (December 29). In 1675, it took part in the attack on Neuburg, in the construction of a bridge on the Rhine at Altenheim and in the combat of Altenheim (August 1). In 1676, the regiment continued to serve in Alsace under the Maréchal de Luxembourg and took part in a combat near Basel. In 1678, the regiment took part in the siege of Freiburg. In 1678, it was transferred to the Army of Flanders and took part in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres, and in the combat of Saint-Denis (14 August).
In 1680, the regiment was stationed at Toul.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was stationed at Tournai when it received orders to join the army besieging Philippsburg. It then occupied Heilbronn on the Neckar. In 1689, it dismantled the fortifications of Heilbronn and fortified itself in Pforzheim. The same year, it stormed Neuburg/Entz. In 1690, the regiment took part in the attack of Waldkirch (August 18). In 1691, it was transferred to Piedmont where it took part in the sieges of the Castle of Veillane and Carmagnola. In 1692, it served in Piedmont again. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of the Marsaglia; in 1696, in the siege of Valencia. In 1697, the regiment was transferred on the Moselle. After the Treaty of Ryswick, it was sent to Briançon.
In 1701, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment was instructed to march from Briançon to Toulon where it embarked for Italy. It distinguished itself at the Battle of Chiari before garrisoning Mantua, sustaining a long blockade. In 1702, the regiment continued to garrison Mantua while a detachment of volunteers of the regiment took part in the Battle of Luzzara. In 1703, the regiment left Mantua and took part in the capture of Bersello, Nago and Orgo and in the bombardment of Trento. In 1704, it participated in the sieges of Vercelli and Ivrea and started the siege of Verua. In the Spring of 1705, it was still part of the army besieging Verua. It later took part in an engagement at Moscolino, in the Battle of Cassano and in the attack of the Imperialist lines between Castel-Leone and Gombetto and entered into Mantua. In 1706, the regiment was charged to guard the passages of the Adige. After the Battle of Calcinato (April 19), it rejoined the Franco-Spanish army encamped at Goito. In September, it was sent to Alessandria, threatened by the Imperialists, but arrived too late to prevent its capture. The regiment then took refuge in Chivasso where it capitulated with the honours of war and was escorted to the frontier from where it marched to Chambéry. In 1707, the regiment was charged to guard the passes of the Alps. In 1708, it was sent to the Army of the Rhine where it was the most senior regiment. It was posted in the Lines of the Lauter part in Wissembourg, part in Lauterbourg where it remained till 1712. In 1713, it was among the force who covered the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
In 1759, Bourbonnais Infanterie finally obtained precedence over the two other regiments. However, the conflict persisted and a new regulation, dated July 15 1761, reintroduced alternating ranks with Auvergne receiving the 7th rank for 1761 while Bourbonnais got the 8th and Boisgelin (the new name of La Tour-du-Pin) was 9th.
From February 1761, the regiment was known as Boisgelin. When the French Army was reorganised on December 10 1762, this regiment took the name of the Province of Béarn. The former regiment known by this name had been disbanded a few weeks earlier, on November 25.
The regiment counted four battalions and had "prévôté" (provostship).
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 7th 8th or 9th in the French Army, depending on the year, and was commanded by:
- since October 19 1746: Philippe Antoine Gabriel Victor Charles, Marquis de la Tour-du-Pin de la Charce
- from February 20 1761 to November 30 1764: René Gabriel, Comte de Boisgelin
Service during the War
In September 1756, the regiment was sent to Mans then to Saumur.
In May 1757, the regiment received orders to join the army in Germany. On August 1, it crossed the Rhine at Mainz. It took part in the invasion of Hanover, pursuing the army of the Duke of Cumberland up to Stade. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed in the centre of the first line. After the defeat of Rossbach, the regiment was sent to Lüneburg to cover the retreat of the army. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army in the town of Hanover.
In February 1758, the regiment retired once more, this time behind the Rhine. In April, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Gooch. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp, where it was placed in the centre of the first line, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the left wing of the first line under Lorges. It endured the fire of the artillery for five hours, losing 500 dead and wounded. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine under Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line. After several marches and counter-marches, the regiment took its winter-quarters at Xanten, some 8 km from Wesel.
At the end of May 1759, when the French Army of the Rhine launched its offensive in Western Germany, the regiment remained on the Rhine as part of the Reserve Corps of the Marquis d'Armentières. On July 9, it took part in the siege and in the assault on Münster. It then occupied Giessen and Klein-Liness.
In January 1760, the regiment was stationed in Cologne. On January 3, the regiment was part of a corps under the Marquis de Vogüé who attacked the town of Herborn, an advanced post of Wangenheim's Corps. In this attack the French took 100 prisoners. The regiment along with Picardie Infanterie then cantoned in the village for the night. By May 23, the regiment was part of the left reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Saint-Germain. On July 6, the regiment marched from Arnsberg to Velmede (part of present-day Bestwig). On July 10, it took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to Lieutenant-General Comte de Saint-Germain's detachment who force marched to reach the battlefield. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing. At the end of the engagement, the regiment formed on the heights in front of the bridges to cover the retreat of the French. On October 3, Ségur's Corps (including this regiment) was dispatched towards Hachenburg and Cologne. On October 13, the regiment arrived at Neuss with Castries.
On May 1 1761, the regiment left its winter-quarters at Cologne and joined the Reserve Army under the Prince de Condé. On July 9, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. It took its winter-quarters at Düsseldorf.
On August 30 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Nauheim. After this combat, the regiment returned to France.
The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.
|Coat||white with copper buttons on the right side down to the waist
|Waistcoat||white with one row of copper buttons|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
The drummers of the regiment wore the Livery of the Colonel of the regiment.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross
Ordonnance Colours: a white cross with yellow and violet opposed cantons
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 3, pp. 335-363, 381
Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Chesnaye des Bois (de la), Aubert: Etrennes militaires, Paris, 1756, 1758, 1759
Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Louis XV: Ordonnance du Roy portant règlement pour l’habillement de l’Infanterie françoise, 19 Janvier 1747
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.